Daydreams of Dark and Stormy Nights
It was a dark and stormy night, the rain came down in torrents... I read about storms once. That's what they used to call it on Earth, when the air whooshed around real fast, and some of the moisture up in the atmosphere made static electricity. And 'rain' is where that moisture condensed and started falling to the ground (I guess people just went outside to take a shower). And then it got dark whenever the side of the planet you happened to be on, turned away from the sun -- that was called 'night' -- and you needed a light to see with if you wanted to go places.
Man! I wonder what it would really be like to be in a storm?
Mum says it would have been dangerous. Sometimes the static electricity -- lightning, I think it was called -- would hit people, and they died. And being outside when the rain was coming down, people got wet and cold, and they'd catch diseases -- what's a disease anyway? I'll have to look that up -- and sometimes they'd get blown away, or their shelter would come toppling down.
But that didn't always happen, did it? I'm sure it would have been awfully exciting to see a storm, but there were other types of air and moisture conditions as well -- they called it weather. It was always changing. Sometimes it was hot, sometimes cold, sometimes, no rain at all! Sometimes, it was just like in our habitat.
And they didn't have bots. Humans had to do everything, even running the planet. That's why they had wars, when people were allowed to kill each other, and stuff. I mean -- living on a planet -- I'll bet there wasn't a single boring moment!
But mum thinks living so close to a star would be dangerous. You don't know when there might be a solar flare, or an electromagnetic pulse. I know it's much safer where we are, where everything we need is inside this rotating wheel, and the McClosky Nebula filters out the harmful rays from the centre of the galaxy. They say it's a bit like Earth. The way this spins, we have the same amount of gravity. I think all these trees and vegetables came from Earth. This side, facing the galaxy centre it's just like day time, and the other side, like night time. The only thing is, in Earth, they could only have one at a time. When it was day time, you couldn't run to the other side and look at the stellar clusters and galaxies, and you couldn't go look at the nebula at night -- well, they didn't have a nebula did they, only big clumps of water vapour that looked a bit like nebulae -- and it didn't rotate around and round because they didn't have to make gravity. The planet had its own.
Okay, it is a lot safer here. But it's so boring! We haven't really had what you'd call 'history' for 500 years now! People I read about in the books would ask their grand-dads what it was like when they were a kid, and they tell long stories. Here, my grand-dad says it was exactly like this. Nothing changed. Great grand-dad and great grandma say the same thing.
Well -- better get back to my reading. It was a dark and stormy night, the rain came down in torrents, there were brigands on the mountains, and wolves, and the chief of the brigands said to Antonio, 'I'm bored tell us a story...'*
I'm bored too. I wish we had brigands and wolves...
* from It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, by Janet and Allen Ahlberg, Puffin, 1994
-- I suppose I should have used the original version, the opening line from Paul Clifford, by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton 1830: It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents -- except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness...
-- or perhaps: It Was a Dark and Storm Night, Snoopy by Charles M. Schulz: It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.